May is National Trauma Awareness Month
In May, as our thoughts turn to summer and warmer weather, we are also reminded of the orthopaedic injuries that frequently occur this time of year. Fortunately, the Academy offers numerous resources, information, and tips to help orthopaedic surgeons educate their patients and communities about potential summer hazards—from bicycles and lawnmowers to distracted walking and driving. With these resources, AAOS members can do the following:
- Post patient safety information on their office or practice websites, and/or social media accounts.
- Write a "letter to the editor" on a timely summer safety topic. For example, orthopaedic surgeons working in coastal communities can write about diving safety; in an urban area, about the dangers of distracted walking and driving.
- Remind patients to stay safe this summer by placing patient safety postcards, posters, and images in office waiting rooms.
This year, the Academy unveiled two new print public service announcements (PSAs) on ladder and bicycle safety.
"Ladder safety should not be learned on the fly" features a man clinging to the gutters and roof of his home as his ladder falls away. The ad, created in partnership with the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, reads: "Climbing a ladder might be the most dangerous thing you do all year. Foot and ankle fractures can result from unsafe ladder use. Make sure you have the balance and strength to use a ladder. Take the time to secure it properly. Don't stand above the marked level and always wear lace-up shoes or boots." Additional information on ladder safety is available at OrthoInfo.org/LadderSafety
"Riders aren't always in the right. But they are always fragile," features a bicycle made out of bones. The graphic highlights the fragility of bike riders, who are vastly outnumbered by cars and much more vulnerable to injury. Created in partnership with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, the ad reads: "So, even when a rider does something boneheaded, remember—your broken headlight is easier to fix than their broken bones. Take the high road and give bicyclists the space they need to ride safely." More information on bike safety is available at OrthoInfo.org/BikeSafety
In addition, postcards, posters, and downloadable images are available for the following 2015 AAOS PSAs:
- "One Shallow Dive Can Wreck a Neck" highlights the importance of diving cautiously, especially in unknown waters or terrain. More information on diving safety is available at OrthoInfo.org/divingsafety
- "Read the Road. And You Won't Need As Many New Parts" encourages motorcycle drivers to stay alert and travel at safe speeds. More information on motorcycle safety is available at OrthoInfo.org/cyclesafety
Distracted walking and driving
In 2009, AAOS launched the "Decide to Drive" campaign to educate children, teens, and adults about the dangers of distracted driving. With the Academy's partner, the Auto Alliance, DecidetoDrive.org offers statistics, videos, downloads, contests, and ideas for social media posts, all related to the dangers of distracted driving.
More recently, AAOS expanded its injury-prevention efforts to include distracted walking. The "Digital Deadwalkers" radio and television PSAs, distributed in 2015 and 2016, humorously but effectively highlight what can happen when pedestrians focus on anything or anyone other than the task of getting where they need to go safely. The video, along with the Academy's recent research findings on distracted driving behavior and perceptions, and distracted walking tips are available at OrthoInfo.org/DistractedPedestrians
Lastly, the Academy's Prevent Injuries America (PIA) web page features news releases, videos, and links to OrthoInfo.org fact sheets and safety tips on 35 injury prevention topics including baseball, golf, horseback riding, lawnmowers, playgrounds, scooters, skateboards, and trampolines. To access the PIA page on the AAOS website, visit newsroom.aaos.org/patient-resources/prevent-injuries-america/
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.